Hopkins vice provost named Yale deanJared Cohon, the Johns...

LIFE SCIENCES

August 18, 1992|By Liz Bowie

Hopkins vice provost named Yale dean

Jared Cohon, the Johns Hopkins University professor who some credit with helping to usher in a new era of cooperation between the university and the business community, will leave his post as vice provost for research Sept. 1 to become dean at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, one of the nation's best forestry schools.

"This is a really good opportunity," Dr. Cohon said. "It was the first school of forestry and has a place in the field." He also will be able to stay involved in administration, which he said he enjoys.

Dr. Cohon, 44, has played matchmaker for business people interested in turning Hopkins research into a commercial product.

"Jerry has been a kind of gateway into Hopkins for the high tech community," said Thomas J. Chmura, deputy director of the Greater Baltimore Committee. "There was a time when Jerry was the only guy anyone knew to call."

In the past year, he said, a new generation of leadership at Hopkins has emerged that is more oriented toward the industry.

At Yale Dr. Cohon will return to his research roots in environment and economics and focusing on a central environmental issue of the day -- the role of forests in the global ecosystem.

Hopkins has not announced a replacement for Dr. Cohon.

More LAB units may come to area

Eager for any sign that the life sciences industry is growing, Baltimore businesspeople and the state's economic development office were overjoyed in May to welcome into the fold a subsidiary of a German pharmaceutical services company. Even with only a few employees, LAB Pharmaceuticals, which began operations in Owings Mills, seemed a good sign.

But the state may get not one but three new companies as a result of LAB's investment.

LAB Pharmaceuticals and American Drug Development Co. opened in March in a temporary location at Jason Pharmaceuticals in Owings Mills -- relatively close to Washington and only a couple of hours' drive from large pharmaceutical customers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Their German parent company, LAB, was anticipating starting only one company -- American Drug Development -- but decided to move more rapidly, according to President Norbert L. Wiech.

American Drug Development plans to make drugs for other companies. It has sought approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to operate, a process that could take several years.

LAB Pharmaceuticals will provide research services to pharmaceutical companies. A pharmaceutical or biotechnology company might hire LAB Pharmaceuticals to figure out the right form -- pill, tablet, injectable or liquid -- a drug should take, then package it.

Its customers might be major drug companies that didn't have the space to do a small project themselves and smaller biotechnology companies that needed the experience and the expertise to help them get a product to market.

A third company that would do the first stage of drug testing for other companies is planned for later. LAB operates LAB Inc. in New Jersey, which does such testing. Dr. Wiech said it probably will remain there.

The companies have 10 employees who will move into 18,000 square feet of renovated space near Golden Ring Mall in mid-September. They are negotiating for a property, perhaps in Owings Mills, for LAB.

Microbiological chief quits in fiscal dispute

After disagreements with the board over the long-term financial structure of Microbiological Associates Inc., chief executive, Lewis J. Shuster, is leaving the Gaithersburg company, which provides safety testing for biotech products.

Mr. Shuster told the board early this year that he would leave this summer. "It was a very amicable parting," he said. Mr. Shuster has been volunteering a day and a half of his time each week to help get the Maryland Bioprocessing Center -- the Biocenter for short -- through its early stages of development. Although he would like to continue that work and stay in this area, he said, he is considering job opportunities across the country.

Cerex will market cell mass sensor

You may not have heard of Cerex Corp. of Ijamsville -- that's a small town in Frederick County -- but it expects to complete a second round of financing in the next several weeks and will begin marketing its first product. This 10-employee biomedical company hopes its new product -- a cell mass sensor -- is a hot seller.

Cerex plans to sell the product for $8,200 to large biotechnology companies that grow algae or bacteria to make their products. The process takes place in large fermenters -- not too different than breweries. The Cerex sensors are gadgets, about eight inches long and half an inch in diameter, that will tell technicians how well the process is progressing. Is the oxygen level right, the cell mass correct and is there enough or too much sugar in the mix?

Today, companies must take samples and analyze each one in a laboratory.

"We are pretty unique right now," said Chief Executive Skip Colvin. He would not specify what Cerex believes to be the size of its market.

The private company, which has raised $2 million in the past six months, wants to begin marketing its products nationally and in Asia, particularly Japan and Korea.

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